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Visiting Librarians: Paiki Muswazi

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University of the Witwatersrand Library, Johannesburg, South Africa


Research Library Consortium Fellow, Spring 2008

Paiki Muswazi, Deputy Client Services Librarian at the University of the Witwatersrand, was one of seven librarians from South Africa who came to the United States this spring under the auspices of the Research Libraries Consortium (RLC), a new three-year program funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and involving three distinguished universities (Cape Town, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Witwatersrand). The six-week long sojourn in the United States included an intensive learning program at the Mortenson Center, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, followed by a four-week residency at one of six academic and research institution (Yale in Paiki’s case), a mid-term gathering in San Francisco, and a final conference at the University of Arizona.

At Yale, Paiki experienced day-to-day interaction between librarians and researchers, shadowed research librarians and participated in research activities, and gained a deeper understanding of how research is supported by collection development, fundraising, and the use of technology.

Paiki'’s responsibilities at the University of the Witwatersrand include management of the Africana Library and the Historical Papers department at the William Cullen Library housing the Research Commons, implementation of ongoing client satisfaction surveys and related projects, and coordination of the education and training function and library
participation in university and external events and projects. He has designed and facilitated various information literacy programs, implemented the online information skills tutorial, developed and facilitated the provision of staff workshops on information finding and conducting research. He is currently facilitating the incorporation of historical papers into Humanities postgraduate library workshops, and collaborating with the Public Knowledge Project of the University of British Columbia, Canada, in promoting online publication of journals at African universities to enhance local and global access to knowledge produced in Africa. He is the author of about 21 journal articles, book chapters, conference papers and web documents and has facilitated numerous workshops.

Prior to his current position, he worked as Senior Librarian (Education & Training) at the University of the Witwatersrand Library (2005-06), Assistant Librarian (Special Collections) at the University of Swaziland Library, in Kwaluseni, Swaziland (1994-2005), Librarian/Archivist at National Archives of Zimbabwe (1985-88).

A native of Zimbabwe, Paiki has a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from Simmons College, a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Zimbabwe, an International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) from the ICDL Foundation in Cape Town, South Africa, and a Diploma in Training Management from the Institute of Personnel Management (IPM) in Harare, Zimbabwe.

The seven visiting librarians recorded their experiences in the U.S. on the project blog, RLC Librarians on the Move, where Paiki says of his time at Yale: “My coordinator continues to enrich the programme. Whenever something interesting arises, he finds a way of bringing it in. He leaves no stone unturned and by the end of the programme I will have gone through virtually all functions and services!”